Norwin notebook: Giansante headed to Western Carolina

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Saturday, January 30, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Anthony Giansante could have tapped out.

When Western Kentucky pulled his football scholarship offer several months back, and a few other offers went by the wayside, the senior from Norwin had to regroup and essentially start over.

He continued to cast lines to college coaches, posting videos of his workouts, from weightlifting to footwork drills.

He got a few nibbles but only one school was able to reel in the brawny lineman.

Giansante announced verbal commitment No. 2 earlier this month, to Western Carolina of the Division I FCS Southern Conference.

This one, he hopes, will stick.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive guard and defensive tackle could not visit the Western Carolina campus, but went through a virtual tour.

“It’s a big relief,” he said. “It’s been a long process complicated by the pandemic and NCAA rule changes. Coach (John) Holt and coach (Jay) Guillermo did a good job in recruiting me. After learning more about WCU, I liked the school as much as the football program.

“We plan to attend a game in the spring.”

Steve Smith was Giansante’s line coach for four years at Norwin.

“Anthony has demonstrated that in the end, hard work pays off,” Smith said. “Nobody is going to outwork him. Many other student-athletes may have become discouraged and shutdown by what (Western Kentucky) did to him, but he just used it to fuel him. I think the sky is the limit for Anthony and he will be very successful at the next level.”

A first-team all-conference selection, Giansante was a three-year starter for the Knights and was a Bill Fralic Memorial Award nominee for the top lineman in the WPIAL in 2020.

“He did not miss a game or practice throughout his entire high school career,” Norwin head coach Dave Brozeski said.

Giansante had several FCS offers up until November, but with the fluctuating recruiting landscape, some schools backed off or filled positions.

That meant Giansante had to keep preparing himself physically and mentally while he waited for additional offers to roll in.

Central Connecticut State, Missouri State and Gardner Webb all offered before he chose Western Carolina.

How did he stay so patient?

“Just controlling what I could control, which is my work ethic,” Giansante said. “Some offers got filled and some were not the right fit. I am thrilled to have found a home.”

Happy returns

Hempfield wrestling coach Vince DeAugustine, who coached Norwin the last two seasons, led the Spartans against the Knights two weeks ago in a Class AAA Section 2B first-place showdown.

Hempfield jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 40-34 victory.

DeAugustine called the match against his former team “emotional” in a tweet.

He said he is “grateful they are being led by such a solid coach in (Kyle Martin).

“Those that passed him up for a head coaching job have to be kicking themselves right now,” DeAugustine tweeted. “He is doing big things for the sport.”

Chrisman commits

Norwin senior football player Connor Chrisman announced he will play college football at Slippery Rock. A 6-3, 180-pound wide receiver and defensive back, Chrisman was a first-team all-Class 6A conference receiver.

Last season, Chrisman had 18 receptions for 385 yards and five touchdowns. He had 31 tackles on defense.

On campus

A trio of former Norwin girls basketball players had strong performances or helped their teams to recent wins.

Saint Joseph’s grad transfer Alayna Gribble returned to the lineup from an injury and scored 17 points, including 5 of 9 3-pointers, to lead the Hawks to a 63-61 win over George Washington.

Her sister, Marietta freshman guard Olivia Gribble, had five points in nine minutes in her college debut, an 82-80 win over Otterbein. The next game, she added nine points on three 3-pointers, in 15 minutes as Otterbein turned the tables in an 108-75 victory.

And West Virginia Wesleyan senior Abi Gabauer scored a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for the Bobcats (0-6) in a 103-68 loss to West Virginia State. Her previous high was 24 points in a game during her freshman season.

Alayna Gribble and Gabauer are former Tribune-Review players of the year.

Tweet of the week

“Big shoutout to my mother who washes a NASTY amount of clothes during wrestling szn.” — Norwin wrestler John Altieri (@johnaltieri41)

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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